Difference Between Growth and Development In Psychology

Human beings are quite complex living beings. They change continuously and psychology is such a subject that studies these changes over time and notices the difference.


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Being the study of both the body and mind, Psychology deals with both growth and development as fundamental parts of a living being. 

Growth vs Development In Psychology

The difference between growth and development in psychology is that growth mainly refers to the physical change in a living being but development refers to the overall change in a living being. 

Growth vs Development In Psychology

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGrowth Development 
TypeGrowth is quantitativeDevelopment is qualitative
TimelineGrowth is something that occurs up to a certain time in different humans and animals. Development never stops. Unlike growth, it is a lifelong process that goes on till your death.
CausesGrowth occurs as a result of a cellular change by the increase of cells in an organismThere is no cellular change resulting in development.
Changes Growth leads to developments but that does not occur always.Development does not require to be associated with growth. It can occur without the need for growth.
ResultsAs a result of growth, we see changes in the appearance of a living beingWe do not see any visible changes as a result of development in living beings.

What is Growth in Psychology?

The quantitative physical change that occurs in life is referred to as growth. An increase or decrease in weight, height, or changes in physical appearances or looks can be termed as the growth of someone. 

It is not something that happens for a long time. It has a designated time and occurs till one is matured. The best way to define the term ‘growth’ is the structural changes that take place for some time. 

Growth is measurable just like you can measure the height or weight of a child. Growth mainly depends on genes. Hereditary factors play an important role in other biological factors.

An increment in the number of cells leads to generic growth, and after attaining maturity it stops altogether


What is Development in Psychology ?

The quantitative overall changes that occur in living creatures along with their age is known as development. Development might occur as a result of genes. But, the outside world plays a huge part in defining the behavior of someone.

It is never-ending. A living being develops till its death approaches. It has nothing to do with your physical appearance but is itself a combination of mental, physical, and intellectual changes altogether. 

It is a gradual process and is hard to notice too. It is not like the weight or physical appearance of a person that can be easily noticed. You need to observe if you want to learn about someone’s behaviors. 

It is a known fact that behaviors are passed down from generations but if you provide a worthy atmosphere, you can take the course of development into your own hands too. 

Development is not directly proportional to growth as it can happen irrespective of growth or any other physical changes. 


Main Differences Between Growth and Development in Psychology

  1. The main difference between the growth and development in a living creature is that growth is structural. We always see some changes in the structure of the organism due to growth. On the other hand, development is functional. Indeed, we do not notice any visible changes in an organism due to development. But, we have noticed some behavioral and functional changes in the organism after it has developed. 
  2. We already know growth doesn’t occur throughout the life of a living being, but it occurs until the being has matured and reached a certain stage of maturity. But development is continuous. It goes on irrespective of growth or any other factors for your whole life.
  3. The process of development is huge. It is never-ending and consists of a series of facts and factors which play a role under it. While development is the entire process of a being, growth is just one of the factors under development that focuses on the physical aspect of a living being
  4. Growth can be observed by the changes in the height and weight of a living being. You don’t need to observe to realize that the person has grown. On the other hand, development is something that has to be viewed or notice closely and keenly to realize. A person who is not familiar with you might notice your growth but he/she will fail to understand if you have developed or not. 
  5. Growth is measurable. You can easily measure growth by tracing out their height, weight, or other physical changes, but development is immeasurable. You can measure the overall changes and behavioral patterns of a living being. It is something that can only be felt but not physically observed. 
  6. Different human emotions play a vital role in development, but such is not the case with growth. With development, a person can either be happy or sad. Moreover, they start to understand these feelings a lot better than before. On the other hand, happiness or sadness does not come into the picture with growth. 
  7. Culture and surroundings play an important role when it comes to development. Development cannot occur if the subject is not exposed to knowledge. However, knowledge does not play a role when it comes to growth. Growth depends on hereditary and nutrition factors, and so factors like culture do not play any role in the growth of a living being. 



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